Welcome to Meet Our Geoquip, our regular blog series featuring employee insights from across Geoquip Marine. This regular feature is an opportunity for the many diverse voices working in both on offshore and onshore teams to share their story, provide insights into their role in the company and offer advice to those looking to begin or continue their career in geotechnical engineering.

Today’s post features Hans Hanse, Head of Technical & Business Development, based out of our Swiss HQ in St. Gallen. We would like to thank Hans for taking the time to share his story with us.

Can you tell us about your role at Geoquip Marine?

I joined Geoquip Marine in 2015, back then my main role was to drum up business, as business levels were very low at the time following the decline of oil & gas. Following a slow and thorough start, we were getting successful with some wins in Chile, Australia and the Black Sea after which offshore wind really took off for us.

Today I focus more at identifying potential growth regions, such as other business segments suitable for our type of services and other services we could provide to the business segments we already serve. An example of the former is the carbon capture market which could benefit from our drilling capabilities, an example of the latter is the ongoing expansion into providing laboratory testing services.

What inspired you to follow a career path into the geotechnical engineering industry?

As a student, I did an internship at an offshore geotechnical contractor. I did get to go offshore myself (North Sea) but was particularly fascinated by the fact that all offshore going personnel were travelling everywhere: a month in New Zealand, home for a bit, off to Africa and so on seemed like my kind of job. So, I joined them shortly after finishing my study, and enjoyed 7-8 years of being an offshore geotechnical engineer.

The balance/dynamics were really good; you would spend about a 120 days per year offshore and a 120 days per year in the office doing reporting/engineering. During that period, I progressed into a half decent geotechnical engineer and enjoyed working on all sort of projects (jack-ups, piles, anchor foundations, cable laying, etc).

What do you enjoy most about your role as Head of Technical & Business Development?

In general, I enjoy talking to people in my network (the offshore geotechnical scene, although growing rapidly, is still a relatively small world) about potential opportunities to work together/expand/develop. But the best part of the role is that you can operate autonomously and focus on what you believe is important. In operational roles you always get driven by the madness of the day up to some extent, that’s a lot less the case when you are in Technical & Business Development, being more focused on the mid-long term.

What are the key skills or attributes you need to be successful in a role such as yours?

I suppose you need to have a bit of a network and be good at communicating with others. You need to be good at a bit of creative and lateral thinking, but I am lucky to work with people of which one has developed that skill into an art. So, never a shortage of creative ideas to deal with. Finally, a strong background in all aspects of our business, offshore geotechnics, is essential to engage in meaningful discussions.

What advice would you give someone who is considering a career with Geoquip Marine?

Go for it. Geoquip Marine is a company where dogmas don’t exist. If you have ideas, they will be appreciated. We are a reasonably flat organised company who promotes people to take ownership of their role, and by taking ownership, you can determine your own direction up to a certain degree. With ambitious growth plans, there are plenty of opportunities for an exciting career path within Geoquip Marine.

Finally, do you have any hobbies or passions outside of your work? Please tell us about them.

Absolutely, and they are one of the main reasons I ended up at Geoquip Marine in Switzerland. My main hobbies are skiing and paragliding which was the main driver to make the decision to go and live close to the Alps. In winter, most weekends and some weeks are spent skiing with my wife and kids in the surrounding Alps (St Anton, Lech, Davos, Lenzerheide, Laax to name a few), in the summer I pick my days to make some beautiful flights, often near the namesake of one of our vessels, the Saentis.

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Hans!

If you would like to learn more about our offshore geotechnical site investigations, click here. You can also visit our Careers area and browse our latest vacancies and career opportunities.